Radio: I Discuss the Coronation, the Tories’ Suppression of Peaceful Protest and Criminalization of Refugees, Plus the Latest on Guantánamo, With Chris Cook on Gorilla Radio

A new flag for the UK in 2023, under Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister and Suella Braverman as home secretary.

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For many years, I’ve been honored to be regularly invited to discuss my ongoing work on Guantánamo, as well as many other political concerns of mine, on Gorilla Radio, run by Chris Cook in Victoria, Canada, which is “dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the corporate media.”

Chris’s latest show is here (or here as an MP3), and our interview took place in the second half of the hour-long program, after an interview with whistleblowing activist Ashley Gjøvik, following the publication of her article “Whistleblowers Are the Conscience of Society, Yet Suffer Gravely For Trying to Hold the Rich and Powerful Accountable For Their Sins,” published by Covert Action Magazine.

I’ve also embedded the show below:

The trigger for Chris’s interview with me was the Coronation, last Saturday, of King Charles III, which I covered in a post as part of my ongoing photo-journalism project ‘The State of London’, and also recorded a song about, entitled, “You’re Not My King,” also embedded below:

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How Brexit Gave Us Vile, Broken Politicians Who Despise Human Rights and Seek to Criminalise Refugees: Part Two

The home secretary Suella Braverman laughing hysterically, and entirely inappropriately, during a visit to the UK’s proposed “migrant camp” in Rwanda yesterday, March 18, 2023, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak seemingly emerging from a coffin while announcing the Tory government’s shameful ‘Stop the Boats’ policy on March 7, 2023, and then-home secretary Priti Patel smirking at a press conference in Rwanda, announcing the Rwanda plan, on April 14, 2022.

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The second of two articles in which I examine how the Tory government’s vile anti-immigration policies, pursued with such vigour by Priti Patel and Suella Braverman, have their origins in the dangerous isolationism of Brexit, and its unleashing of false and disturbing notions that, post-Brexit, the UK should no longer be constrained by international law. In this first article, I looked at how Brexit happened, how Theresa May paved the way for the shoddy and cruel lawlessness of Patel and Braverman, and how the Tories, even before Brexit, consistently sought to undermine the European Convention on Human Rights, with a particular focus on Theresa May’s obsessive pursuit of the Jordanian cleric Abu Qatada. (See Part One here).

Ruthlessly self-seeking and, morally, a complete vacuum, Boris Johnson swept to power in December 2019 by following the populists’ playbook established by Donald Trump — a three- or four-word slogan, hammered home at every opportunity. For Trump it was ‘Make America Great Again’, while for Johnson it was ‘Get Brexit Done’, delivered despite the evident impossibility of getting it done without consigning us to relentless economic decline and international irrelevance.

While Johnson’s dithering over Covid, his persistent lying and his corruption (not least in fast-tracking billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to cronies during the Covid lockdowns for services that they were patently unable to provide) defined his Premiership, what must not be overlooked is the extent to which he also empowered the far right of the Conservative Party in their rabid enthusiasm for a post-Brexit bonfire of fundamental rights.

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How Brexit Gave Us Vile, Broken Politicians Who Despise Human Rights and Seek to Criminalise Refugees: Part One

British tabloid newspapers attacking human rights on their front pages, in a collaged image from 2017 put together by Adam Wagner.

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As the UK government tries to pass its ‘Illegal Migration Bill’, which, in defiance of international law, seeks to criminalise the very existence of refugees, and which follows up on another recent policy whereby the government is intent on sending refugees to Rwanda rather than allowing them to stay here, I thought it would be useful to look at how we got into this shameful situation; specifically, by examining the key role that the Brexit vote — and Tory animosity towards human rights legislation — have played in transforming the UK into a marginalised outlier state, led by a government representing a minority of the British people, that is committed to erasing the rights of refugees, and our obligations towards them, and is also intent on gutting the UK of any legally enforceable human rights.

It’s nearly seven years since, in a criminally negligent referendum called by David Cameron, 37.4% of the registered electorate of the UK voted to leave the EU.

It was the start of a downward spiral of isolation that is ruining the British economy, cutting countless small- and medium-sized businesses off from their hugely important markets in the EU, and also making the UK into a pariah state when it comes to inwards investment, because, let’s face it, why would anyone want to invest in a country that has not only turned its back on frictionless trade within one of the world’s largest trading blocs, but has also sent a defiantly idiotic message to the rest of the world that we are proud of our isolation, metaphorically standing on the White Cliffs of Dover flicking V-signs at the rest of the planet.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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